HAMPTON, Ga. — official release — Great short-track racing and heated arguments on pit road can flare tempers, but ultimately the competitors share the same sentiment — all that matters is the title.
Regan Smith and Ty Dillon know all too well the pressures of chasing a championship sitting second and third in the standings as the season hits its final stretch.
With 10 races remaining in the season, every finish and every point counts but opportunity knocks. In the last two years the final 10 races have provided ample opportunity for a championship comeback. Last season following Bristol, the eventual champion Austin Dillon was second in the standings, six points back from the series lead. In 2012 coming out of Thunder Valley, the eventual champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was also second 19 points back from the series lead. Both drivers capitalized in the final stretch of the season claiming their respective titles.
Heading to Atlanta, Smith sits 13 points back from his JR Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott in the standings lead; while Dillon is 30 points back from the points lead, but just 17 back from Smith.
Regan Smith’s consistency has been the key to his success in 2014. In his 23 starts he has posted one win, six top fives and a series-leading 19 top 10s. Smith has made three starts at AMS posting an average finish of 17.6.
Ty Dillon’s point deficit could be considered large, but conquerable, especially starting this weekend at Atlanta. Dillon won his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Atlanta in 2012. Though this will be his NNS debut at AMS this weekend, he has finished in the top-10 in four of the previous 1.5-mile tracks the series has competed on this season. Dillon has posted one win, four top fives and 16 top 10s this season. Dillon will also be making his series debut in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this weekend at Atlanta becoming the 10th driver this season to compete in all three of NASCAR’s national series.